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  • Writer's pictureWILLIAM A SLOAN


So, we’re back from a wonderful experiential journey through Japan

and several people have already asked if I got a special souvenir of some kind.

The answer is no, not really and yes, sort of.

Souvenirs seem odd after a certain age and reductive, too. Am I over-thinking this? Of course. The real memory piece, the real take away is the people you’ve met, the memories you’ve made, the experience of breathing different air. Still, it’s nice to have a reminder, right?

Like, I saw a very beautiful kimono. Am I gonna wear a kimono? No. Back in the seventies, definitely, but now? Not so much. I also saw a piece of art that I liked A LOT, but the price tag on the art, as well as the price tag on said kimono, was equal to the cost of the entire vacation, so that’s a no.

I also made up a thing on our last trip, that anywhere I went from now on, I’d find and buy a watch. Nothing extravagant. It had to be under a certain price. So now I have two fairly recent watches – one from France and one from Mykonos – and I figured I’d find one in Japan, but again the price range had a ceiling and Japan’s watches apparently did not. So, as it turned out, I was on Instagram one day, somewhere between Kyoto and Hiroshima, and I saw this very cool watch. It was under the ceiling, so to speak, and it happened to be from Sweden, but technically I was in Japan when I saw it, ergo it was a souvenir from Japan. So, there’s that.

Still, this trip was memorable in so many ways and I’m so glad we waited til now for Japan than taking it on in our twenties, when the experience would be so very different. My simplest and most valued take aways are that there is beauty in everything, that nature is the great designer, that we need to look, really look and respect and appreciate what has been shared with us and for us.

And so, I have a rock, a rock that found me, a beautifully grey rock with two calligraphic white lines that are really pretty, but also speak to the wonders of time and the beauty of collaborative aging and the effects of water and wind and heat and cold on a simple object. An object that’s survived thousand of years, hiding in plain site. An object that fits in the palm of my hand, as if it was meant to be. I saw it on a beautiful day on a beautiful beach with Mount Fuji in the distance.

Now, it’s in our home as a elegantly simple reminder of many, many things.

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,

we must carry it with us or we find it not. “

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Apr 17, 2023

Absolutely beautiful

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